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Summer Cleansing and Cooling Foods

Summer can be a good time to change your eating habits. You can begin by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and avoiding all foods that can make you sick by raising your blood pressure, triggering headaches and migraines, or add extra pounds. Summer is also a good time to spend more time outdoors to burn calories and get your heart rate up! Consider starting some enjoyable physical activities which you can turn into healthy habits – hiking, biking, running? Or working out with me a few times each week! But when it’s hot and humid outside, we all want to be cool, so here are some food for summer ideas that might help you feel and look better in the heat.

The best hydration for summer is FRUIT! It will keep your insides cool. Try to eat fruits grown in season, such as melons, apples, grapes, pears, cherries, apricots, berries, plums, peaches, mangos, papaya, tomatoes as well as all citrus fruits. Go for organic whenever you can. Fruit is both cooling and can act as a laxative, which can not only help your body to cool off, but also help with your summer detox and weight loss.

Leafy GREEN vegetables can also have a cooling effect on the body. You can make refreshing and cooling summer salads with slightly bitter-tasting, cleansing greens, such as dandelion greens, watercress and endive. Other cooling vegetables include: asparagus, cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini. As for roots vegetables, you can eat daikon and beets when you are hot.
La Jolla Fruit stand
Turmeric Detox Dressing is perfect match for your summer salads because it contains turmeric and avocado – two cooling foods. Recipe below . . . . :

Have you tried sea vegetables? Summer may be the right time to experiment with them (kelp, spirulina, kombu, hiziki, arame, dulse) because they ALL can help you feel cooler in the heat.

When you exercise more, you need extra protein. Healthy sources of protein that have a cooling effect on the body are: mung beans, grains such as black or brown rice, quinoa, millet, and (my new favorite) kaniwa . . . plus tempeh, soy milk and fish are all great protein.

Finally, herbs and spices such as peppermint, nettles, red clover, lemon balm, cilantro, marjoram can be a perfect addition to your cooling meals. They can also help simple detox of your body and boost your immune system.

Tumeric Detox Dressing
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice + zest of 2 Lemons
¼ avocado
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. raw local honey — if not vegan
Pinch of iodized salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients in a blender.  Add more avocado if you desire a thicker consistency.


Remove ugly belly fat

Some articles proclaim “how to get rid of belly fat!” or “Try these exercise to remove unwanted belly fat!” The articles may be missing one key point. We cannot simply laser off belly fat magically, unless you get surgery. Don’t get me wrong, exercise DOES WORK to reduce body fat. However, you can’t eat cookies and pie all day long and expect to lose the body fat!

Keep in mind, we all have different body shapes and different places fat cells like to accumulate. One type of body has those nice dimply thighs and chunky butts, where the fat cells love to pile up, with less of a chance for the extra ugly belly fat. The other type has less fat on the legs, but chronically chubby tummies. These are body types that you can’t escape. The fat will go where it wants to go.

If you are the type that has extra belly fat, you can do sit-ups all day long and it won’t burn those stubborn fat cells. Although, core and abdominal strength are an extremely important part of a fitness regime. The solution to burning the fat is essentially burning more calories, and then to eat less calories. If you’re burning calories, you’ll eventually use the fat cells to produce energy. Hence, zapping away those piled up fat cells around your belly button!

Don’t listen to all the articles that proclaim the cure to belly fat as being one specific exercise or trick. The key is to just go out there work hard, burn some calories, and then skip the ice cream at night.

Low-Carbs Myth

Don't rock the muffin-top at your next topless event!

If you’re trying to shed some weight from the winter-time, and look good this spring and summer in your skivvies, do not eliminate carbohydrates or you may be in danger of bonking at your next workout.

The idea that you should eat low-carb or no-carbs to lose weight has various negative repercussions that many nutritionists have noted over the years. My point is primarily targeted at athletes who try this diet. If you are shooting for weight-loss in your nutrition, simply slashing the carbs you eat can possibly be detrimental to your next workout. Time and time again at a workout I’m coaching, someone eats only protein and fat prior to the workout and then has very little energy to go as hard as he or she wants.

If your goal is weight loss and muscle tone, then I recommend exercising at least five times per week and carefully plan your diet — not by eliminating carbohydrates! You’ll need the carbs for your workouts, so eat around 20 – 30 grams of carbohydrates (depending on your body weight: more if heavier, less if lighter) right before and after your workout. Protein should also be included immediately after exercising: about 5 – 15 grams should be sufficient, also depending on your body weight. What type of protein and carbs is crucial! There are good carbs and bad carbs. Most processed carbs, based from refined sugar and flour are not as beneficial to your body as whole foods. The best carbs I recommend are from fruit and vegetables. If you’re really looking for a sweet, try eating dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, and apricots. If you want something savory try carrots and hummus, for example. For protein, you’ll want to consume complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids, this type of protein comes from animals. Sorry vegetarians, but it can be difficult to get your complete protein from a plant-based diet. Some great forms of protein come from eggs, fat-free yogurt, lean meat and nuts such as almonds. Remember, whole food always trumps powders, bars, and other processed food! However, whole food is not always as convenient on-the-go. So, if you can pre-boil eggs, they are very convenient and “pre-packaged” too! Also, a blend of dried raisins, cranberries, cherries with almonds work just as easily as any protein bar.

Lose weight and feel great one step at a time. Calories in, and calories out. It’s a mathematical equation and a matter of good old self-control and will-power. You can do it! Good luck!

Change it up this year

Inspirational video: How great are you?

Humans are creatures of habit. We like to get into a routine that is comfortable and familiar. The beginning of a new year is the time to think about positive changes we can make to our lives. Generally, there are two types of New Years Resolutions:

  1. Bad habits we want to break.
  2. Goals we want to achieve.

Then, we set about accomplishing those resolutions (sometimes half-heartedly). But do you have a plan to get what you want? Are you just randomly trying to get in shape and randomly resisting the temptations of fattening foods? While these are great attempts at getting your healthy body back, chances are not very high that you’ll actualize your goal.

If you shake it up, and try a really different approach to your lifestyle, this can be a way to break bad habits. If you have compulsive eating habits, a drinking problem, drug addiction or another unwanted bad habit, consistency is key to really quitting! For example, you can’t just do a “crash diet” and expect to have a nice slim body for the rest of your life. The older stubborn fat cells can sometimes take many months, and even years, to finally be evicted from your body.

To start up a new fitness routine, start small, then build slowly. One of my clients started with just walking four miles a few days per week and he built on that by adding more days, and longer distances. He is still improving and getting stronger all the time . . . but it is a slow process.

If you want live the greatest life possible and achieve greatness physically, one must practice discipline, concentration, and patience in order to be successful. These three qualities are the keys to practicing your art. Life is over in the blink of an eye. Make the most of your life today and every day. It’s never too late to begin really making the most of your life. Have a great 2012!

Inspirational video

Avoid weight gain during the holiday season

As we head in to the dark season of winter, our bodies tend to hibernate. Every year people who typically work hard at staying fit pile on the pounds during November and December. The rest of the year it’s a little easier to resist temptation. The plates of holiday cookies, baskets of Halloween candies or canisters of peppermint bark do not come lurking by our desks. Generally, we have a lot of opportunities to get out in the warm sunshine, but as sunlight hours shorten, it’s more challenging. November 6th is daylight savings and soon it will be dark by the time many of us leave the office. Hence, many evening outdoor workouts are slashed from the schedule.

Quite simply, maintaining a healthy weight is calories-in-calories-out. If you are not exercising as much because you’re in your off-season or not enough daylight hours, essentially you need to cut back on how many calories you’re consuming. Here are a few tips to consider during this health-challenged season.

  1. Skip the large caramel mocha with whipped cream. You’re potentially eating enough calories for a whole meal, 500 – 600 calories depending on the size. Instead, try fat-free milk and honey as a sweetener in your caffeinated beverage (even better, skip the sweetener completely). Peet’s Coffee and Tea of La Jolla is a wonderful local spot if you’re shopping in the La Jolla Village Square Shopping Center. Try the delicious varieties of tea for a healthy option too.
  2. Pile on the healthy snacks. If you can fill up on carrot sticks and hummus, then next time you see those chocolates circulating through the office, you’re more likely resist the temptation. So pack some carrots, almonds or apples to eat, rather than cupcakes.
  3. Drink plenty of water. Another tactic to help you feel less hungry and susceptible to impulsive eating habits is staying hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water each day. Also, soups with clear broth have a high water content and are comfort foods to eat during the cooler months.
  4. Get your partner on a health kick. Sometimes the person we’re dating, living with, best friends with or married to has terrible eating habits. Peer pressure can be very influential with food choices. “Let’s go get burgers.” As you’re thinking, I should probably be eating a salad. But that peer pressure works both ways, point out all the benefits a salad can be. Stay strong with your healthy choices too!
  5. Eating consciousness goes a long way. If you write down what you ate in a day, you’ll be amazed. Often we eat without much awareness. Such as, when getting meals ready for the family, we end up snacking on junk food. Putting others first, and giving less priority to our own healthy needs is a bad habit. Eat healthy today and live longer tomorrow. Your loved ones will be happy for that!

The Quick Fix Body

In the era of duct tape, we all love a quick fix. If something isn’t right, “fudge it,” as the saying goes. If your pants are too long, do we hem them? Often not we pin them, tape them, and jimmy-rig it until it looks good and no one can tell. If you don’t know how to get somewhere or don’t know the answer to something, now we look it up on our phone. Usually these days, many things get swept under the carpet with the ease of modern technology. We like to do what’s easiest, especially in first world countries where we have the modern ease of convenience at out fingertips. Take a trip to Africa and you’re lucky to even get hot water and electrical power sometimes. But, have you ever noticed that in Africa there’s no obesity epidemic? Very few people, except the wealthy, are even out of shape there. Here in the U.S.A., people are bulging out of their stretch jeans and overflowing their tank tops, especially in the summer you can spot more obesity than the colder months. It’s especially dangerous with children!

So what can we do America? Duct tape it! Yes, that seems to be the resolution so many American companies promote and our insurance agencies will pay for: The quick fix body. According to an article by National Public Radio, “The program, known as TennCare, won’t pay for overweight patients to get counseling from dietitians, but it will pay for the morbidly obese to lose weight through surgery, such as gastric bypass.” Surgery seems to be the quick fix for lots of issues with our bodies. Also, appetite-supression drugs, crash diets, over the top four-week fitness programs, and diet shakes may help you get thin temporarily, but it will not last. Shortcuts are just that – short, fast and brief. And sometimes when it comes back, it comes back with a vengeance.

If you want the real results, it’s a long-term commitment. Start small and build a habit of a regular routine, two – three days per week. Then, build from there and you’ll be impressed by what you can accomplish. Keep increasing your volume by 10% each week. If you live in the San Diego area, here’s a new outdoor fitness classes this summer I’m coaching. It will be fun to get outdoors and get fit one step at a time, you’ll be on the healthy road to fitness and good nutrition. Check it out:

Keeping your Body Healthy

Nutrition tip:

Are you trying to track what you eat?
Sometimes it’s hard to see tangible results and to mathematically balance the amount of fats, carbs, protein that you eat. I’ve discovered this nifty on-line food diary that works great!


My mom (of all people) told me about it. She was extremely impressed that she lost weight SO quickly doing it. So if you want to really shed some pounds, keep doing regular exercise AND keep track of what you’re putting in your mouth.

Fitness tip:
Stretch it O U T . . .

When you use your body as intensely as we do at boot camp you’re bound to end up with some aches and pains!
Massage is a great method to work out some of those kinks, but so does stretching – and it doesn’t cost a dime! Try to set some time aside everyday, maybe while watching TV or right after you get home from a workout, to stretch your muscles more deeply than just 5 minutes. Usually we don’t have time for a very deep stretch session and it’s SO important for injury prevention. If you can’t make time, try out a yoga class.

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